With a star-studded cast, an intriguing premise and a unique aesthetic that sets it apart from other original shows the streaming service has served up, it’s fair to assume that ‘Maniac’ is going to have everyone talking.
And with a mix of science fiction, romance and the sheer star power of its A-list lead actors, there’s something for everyone too.
Before you get binging, here’s everything we know about the show so far...
Who is in the cast?
Arguably one of the show’s biggest draws is its impressive cast of Hollywood greats. Although there’s no denying that TV is having a real moment compared to the world of film - with stars like Nicole Kidman, Winona Ryder, Orlando Bloom and Brie Larson moving to the small screen in recent years - never before has a star making that jump been so contemporary and so huge as Oscar-winner Emma Stone, who receives top billing in ‘Maniac’.
Starring opposite her is comedy actor and Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill, who plays Owen to Emma’s Annie.
Joining them are fellow Oscar-winner Sally Field, Sonoya Mizuno (who starred opposite Emma in ‘La La Land’, and more recently appeared in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’), ‘Girls’ star Jemima Kirke, Julia Garner of Netflix show ‘Ozark’ and Justin Theroux, whose past credits include ‘The Leftovers’, ‘Six Feet Under’ and ‘Parks And Recreation’.
What is the show about?
Based on the Norwegian TV series of the same name, which has had received little-to-no press attention outside of its home turf, ‘Maniac’ introduces us to Owen and Annie, two strangers who become involved in a mysterious pharmaceutical trial for a new type of medication.
As part of the trial, the two are promised that their various life problems will be solved, with no unwanted side effects or other complications.
However, as the trailer reveals, things don’t turn out that way, and in what comes across as a mix between ‘Black Mirror’ and ‘Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind’, we see the two repeatedly meeting one another in different universes in their own imagination across different time periods and geographical settings.
What are the critics saying in their reviews?
So far, critics have been decidedly split. Here are some excerpts of what the reviews are saying...
“The story-splitting nature of Maniac gives the stars the rare opportunity to give several bad performances in one project… they successfully lack chemistry in every universe.”
“As a trial of something new, ‘Maniac’ passes every test, and ascends instantly to take its place among the very best TV of the year.”
“You would be forgiven for finding [episode 1] a complete turn off and, well, turning ’Maniac’ off. But here’s a tip: don’t. Stick with it. You will be rewarded.”
“Even an unreal world needs characters who make sense, particularly in a series that is as gooily devoted to exploring those characters’ inner lives as “Maniac” turns out to be. On this level, the show is half-baked and inconsistent.”
“While the eccentricities of ‘Maniac’ can be a little disorientating, even if you lose your footing there is always something beautiful and strange to marvel at.”
“Academic and alienating yet surprisingly grounded, the miniseries should inspire many hot takes, term papers, and devout study of its visual prowess. For those looking to study a TV show, look no further. For those looking to fall in love, well, there’s no pill for that.”
“For all the pitfalls of the high-concept storytelling on display here, there is much to celebrate about this hugely original series, not least the brilliance of its mega-star leads and the vivid, dystopian world crafted by one of the most exciting directors in TV.”
And what about what the cast are saying?
Justin Theroux has noted the show’s unpredictability as one of its defining features in an interview with The Independent.
“It’s that wonderful thing where you read a script,” he said. “And you’re like oh I see where this is… oh no, I don’t see where this is going.”
Meanwhile, Emma Stone has said her favourite thing about ‘Maniac’ is the sheer magnitude of the show, commenting: “I love that they wanted to create something so insane. No matter how this turns out, I’m proud that we tried something big.”
When is it released?
The series kicks off on Friday 21 September.
How can I watch it?
Netflix is the place to catch ‘Maniac’, and as is always the case with the streaming service’s original content, all 10 episodes will be dropped at once, meaning you can binge them all at once (or, ration them out, if you’ve got that much self-control).
How long is each episode?
It’s good news for folks who struggle with longer Netflix dramas, with each episode of the miniseries lasting just half an hour.
Can we see the trailer, please?
Yes, yes you can:
‘Maniac’ will be available to stream in full on Netflix from Friday 21 September.